tv The Presidency CSPAN December 27, 2014 11:59am-1:08pm EST
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on "american history tv". >> we hear about the five years during which thomas jefferson served in paris as the minister of the united states to france. author james thompson describes period as a transformative time for jefferson. is the author n of "thomas jefferson enlightenment". thomas jefferson traveled to france and lived there for five years. during this time, he made a a mber of excursions with
philosoph and influential of french society. to us s speaker will talk about this transformative. in thomas jefferson's life. james thompson studied philosophy as an undergraduate and graduate student at the risd virginia. grad student, hugh lived on a farm of thomas jefferson's oldest daughter. four years there, he began what has been an ongoing investigation into the philosophy of thomas jefferson. mr. thompson developed an of erest in the history ideas -- teaching courses on philosophy, religion, and ethics. of several books, veil of g, "beyond the
wrote that while virginian - "birth of aristocracy" -- and most thomas jefferson's enlightenment. me in welcoming james thompson. >> good afternoon. my name is james thompson. i am honored to be here today. i'd consider the virginia historical society to be one of the greatest cultural institutions in our country. i would like to thank you for this program possible, and for the kind introduction. i like to think the audience for joining me today.
i'm going to talk about thomas jefferson in france. i would like to point out that quality has 160 museum images -- is almost as much a picture book as it is a history book. i have some of the same pictures in the program today. my program today has five parts. in part one, i present the thesis of my book and some about ound information in part fferson. in two, 8 inches the french enlightenment. in part five, common on the circles in which thomas jefferson traveled. the thesis of my book has two
that during his five years in france, thomas jefferson transformed from a circumspect political o an engagement of activists. the second part of my contend that this by digesting concept of progress, and becoming a progressive. what do i mean when i say the declaration of the independence -- author of the declaration of was a loner. he was careful to keep his used to himself. what were they? jefferson was a nonbeliever. he was guided by reason, not faith.
jefferson has do the concept of rights by nature. trained to argue cases in the common law. his self-appointed mission was virginian le the hierarchy -- which he undertook plan for st and his estates new government, and then as a legislature in the first virginia assembly, then of the committee. picture was incidentally painted in 1901. in image of jefferson france forms aaround ports from a few distinguished authors, i'm sure many of you have read these books.
jefferson and the scene of europe" appeared in 1950. rights of n and the man" from 1951. and thomas kleford jefferson's travels in europe -- another lovely book. and "the paris years of thomas jefferson" appeared in 1997. they've all been enjoyable and informative accounts of jefferson in france. not surprisingly, they present as a star performing on the european stage. they focus on what the started, not what was happening on the stage behind him.
going to break ranks today reversed the lens. i will pl., france in the of the picture. franklin had been -- benjamin franklin had been 0 years before he arrived in france in 1776. he has an international network of acquaintances and admires. arrived ime jefferson was familiar klin with the age of enlightenment that he reform movement they were orchestrating. jefferson was not. i contend that jefferson changed. to ing the 50 years prior jefferson's arrival, france's most daring man
in the me go with that second. during the 50th prior to jefferson's arrival, francis brightest and most daring men series of a revolutions -- they revolutionized the national sciences, the government, they invented a new science of man and morality. they revolutionize their arts and letters. they revolutionize their relationship to the church. when jefferson arrived, new revolution was getting underway. 1788, the 84 in were passing es through a reform movement on the way to political revolution. in the light of knowledge, what
became d that insufferable -- the monarchy was on the verge of bankruptcy. the economy was stagnant and corruption is rampant. there was no advancement for france's aspiring petite bourgeoisie. i think that jefferson became things during day-to-day interactions with his acquaintances. i conduct these friend ations through a of jefferson. picture of him in his later years. he was arguably the best man in france. he was a scientist trained in medicine. he was a philosophe.
a companion to benjamin -- benjamin k, franklin, who he called papa. he was a freemason, and a benjamin franklin's lodge. jefferson arrives, french encouragement h from franklin were focused on society and e government. replace jective was to france's backward monarchy with a constitutional government based on a bill of rights. i contend that during his first jefferson rance,
became familiar with the idea that propelled the enlightenment of france. going to note how these men interacting with each heir , what they did with t ideas, and where jefferson fit into their business. france ightenment in gained momentum after voltaire returned from a three-year exile to england took place between 1726 and 1729. in the book by voltaire, he commented on english science and philosophy. locke and newton. focus comments precipitate a sea change in science, which
and franklin. influence the way france saw god and the church. he said, "the encyclopedia should cover each and every branch of human knowledge." of articles ens themselves and encourage france's greatest men to write many more. everyone was to benefit from the insights. russo was an advocate for an aocate for social equality. his reputation rests on a back to nature philosophy in which as noble terized man savage, who crafted and enslaved himself by joining the society. he later revises position by
aying that society rested on a contract, which empowersthe general will of the le.p were so s problems claimed to be solved as people implemented the general will. france's underclasses led by petty bourgeois bullies agreed. france's social theory, not science and knowledge were the achieving the good. of this course on foundation his claim russo open with "the fruits of the earth to us all."
to medieval ins feudalism. it was a major concern of economists throughout the 18th century. inspired oncerns jeffersons rebellion against the pseudo-aristocracy. of torgot -- ture society is that infinitely perfectable. in 1761, he became an attendant of the administrative district regions f the poorest of france. of service ears
there, he applied principles to stimulate economic activity and to create wealth. that hieved enough success in 1774, the king appointed him comptroller general of france. financial s chief officer, turgot implemented a program to reestablish national order.ic him to do this by removing taxes that and prevented the free movement of goods to french markets. he is remembered today for his revolutionary idea -- he society is human applying ve by overcome its ti problems. that over time displayed leave society closer state of perfection.
his claims that the fundamental of human behavior is the search for pleasurable sensations. the standard for right behavior is the good that an act produces in the community. david hume characterizes idea as utility -- adam smith, john and their ls, would all embrace helvetius. by making pleasure seeking behavior, in correct in vitius was essential french reform. condorcet crystallized progress.
he was turgot's protégé. he said that that human xpanding library of knowledge contained bills of mankind. progress ine of asserted that man resolved societies afflictions -- societywide progress to perfection. he said that russo's revolution beneficial to society. benjamin franklin, i have artie what celebrity in france. turgot praised him.
franklin comments people in france that america's new republic was the ultimate of tination in the march human progress. salons of -- the where the places almighty ideas of these men discussed and debated. four celebrated hostesses during the golden age of salons -- in the 1750's to 1780's. some of you have probably seen the picture. this is another conversation piece. today to show -- to
that the the idea salons were a reinforcing ork that made the golden age of the fonts memorable. the best and the brightest paris and france were all connected. the arrows above the heads show to right -- russo, voltaire, turgot. the circles highlight the leading hostesses. this era ended in 1780. the er book, "the women of
poor king. should ed that markets be open and trade of coin should be unrestricted. was dupont -- he of the the name phisiocrat. he developed a technique for of the ng success policies. general of ler france, he followed his stare and dupont collected analyzer for the here propose. i would also add that dupont probably the man who formulate the questions that
jefferson responded to, they now appear in his notes in virginia -- notes on virginia. the political salon was known place for gathering of this man here -- the son of one of her oldest friends. he returned to france after years of living america. at the salon, he was introduced of the circle. he was admired as a valuable source of information about america. and later jefferson,
shared similar celebrity. he helped to shape their view as a wilderness utopia. fascinated louis xvi, an o, among other things was amateur cartographer. this is a more flattering picture of mme. helvetius. she was the niece of the great hostess. attended the to have propose twice to her. her science salon,
have introduced -- to helvetius. of that year, he had moved his residence to the garden of her estate. his housemate later became the literary executive and editor of her husband -- and source of invaluable information. introduced franklin to -- some of you probably seen the john adams series that was on few years evision a ago. it portrays the visit that paid to mme.
helvetius' salon. jefferson does not seem to have at that event late august lace in 1784. interesting about abigail's uncomplimentary account of the fair -- and if you read it -- if way that haphazard franklin introduced his colleagues wife to the great hostess. mme. was completely surprised to find that franklin had brought against. this appears -- i think jefferson probably treated franklin with the same ambivalence. leaving him to himself find its into french society.
jefferson went to france to replace franklin. used ey appears to have interim period to master his diplomatic duties and to create, and publish, his notes on virginia. portrait of -- a that mme. helvetius owned and kept in her bedroom. like to r thing i world order he new -- freemasonry was a major enlightenment of france.
red bordered portraits who were masons. of jefferson's acquaintances were probably free masons. by 1770, members of every society s egg mcmuffin the brotherhood -- whose creed of benevolence, virtue, and self improvement forefront of the the french movement. the nine sisters the nine sisters the most celebrated lodges. franklin initiated voltaire to the brotherhood. william short, also affiliated with this lodge.
pairs, his six months in jefferson apparently concentrate on the business of being a diplomat. an interesting find -- is a painting in a museum in paris -- i have doctorate, i be sued -- you will recognize stanley artist of thomas jefferson, which is in this museum, and is william short. were -- while not engage
in diplomacy, jefferson was busy transforming his notes on virginia into a manuscript. he describes them in his in these words -- these memoranda were bundled were not rder, they is not ipt, it surprising that the project of transforming these bundles of into a book took nine months to complete. taken ld have probably longer if jefferson's assistant, william short, had not been there to help them. another doctored picture -- the need jefferson's the portrait of john paul jones. i am taking liberties with it today.
in july 1785, jefferson replaced franklin. it was after that jefferson began to circulate in parisian society. i'm sorry i do not have more this map -- tthis is a group reproduction -- up to a huge this size and look at scripps on the streets. circled three locations -- circle is -- some of you may know -- jefferson sent his school in o boarding paris -- this is when a boarding school was. on the street is
lafayette's townhouse was. château, the e the duke de laroche. jefferson spent quite a bit of visiting with laroche in his quarters. by the winter of 1786, he had of tled into a circle progressive reformers sustained .y duke de laroche this continued to be the center of jefferson's intellectual life throughout the remainder of the time in paris. the group consisted of louis
alexander. penned the e duke first french translation of the declaration of independence. in 1783, under the eye of franklin, he translatedthe constitution of the 13 united states. was a ranklin, the duke freemason. the second member of the group the marquis. during jefferson's time in the marquis was the greatest philosophe. post of the mint. he was also a member of the french academy. affiliated with --
society, also the duke's lodge. the third member west lafayette. like other members of the a oup, lafayette was dedicated opponent to african slavery, and an energetic mason. these were the central forces of the reform movement. one of their efforts was the of the blacks. fayette was introduced to the duke soon after the duke return m america. jefferson had corresponded with his second uring governor of virginia, but they did not meet until lafayette returned to paris from america.
to talk had more time about these fascinating women, the american a welcome guest, he seems to prefer traveling on his own. the time he had after diplomatic engagements, and his second actions with the duke performance, he seemed to spend in the company of a few distinguished women. these were -- this woman appear the right. the wife -- rch was daughter of philip schuyler of new york -- wife of wealthy parliamentarian
-- and sister of the wife of alexander hamilton. was the enter, she of thomas billing, later the first present of the bank of the united states. she was said to be the most beautiful woman of her age. madam debrehen was the sister-in-law to a scandalous bastard to america. he succeeded in offending most americans of the day. of ia causeway was the wife richard causeway.
the he far right, she was wife of financier, aand hostess of her own small salon. close friends and jeffersons played prominent roles in the next phases of the french reform movement. fall of 1786, the concluded that only alternative to bankruptcy was to use taxes. the best way to do this was to form an assembly. they advised the king that these individuals would consent to levees. for the first time, they would payment.share in the
otherwise, they risk losing the privileged status. the king followed the advice, the king followed the advice, and in late september 1786, he summoned a meeting of notables. jefferson looked on as lafayette was sworn in. of the corruption that plagued the system, the meeting did not go well for the king. when the bly ended offer new efused to taxes. the parts simmered for several months after that. august 25, 1788, the farmers general, who collected the the king's paid debts, suspended repayment of the kings that.
january 24, 1789, parliament refused authorized new taxes. the king alternative, -- an estate general. jefferson attended the opening session on may 5. he wants several of his friends take their seats. if you look at this picture, at s is the first side, versailles, by the way. this is the king, sitting out of reach.
the refusal of the state to meet and vote separately precipitated to immediate crisis. on s crisis was resolved june 10, when members of the first two orders join them, the estate general dissolved. france had a new government. a e first task was to write new constitution. to le jefferson went on prepare -- lafayette asked jefferson to review draft that prepared to submit for the bill of rights, that jefferson was going to went on e -- jefferson
to draft the charter of rights. this, he was doing charter on the the united n of states of america. shots of the french on july 14, ere when 100 angry mobs sees the murdered its d commandant. on this day, louis xvi two was in verrsaille wrote these words in his diary: july 14, done. that night, the king was roused
his sleep -- what is it, the king asked. the best still has fallen. -- he asked.lt no, it was a revolution. jefferson to hold an emergency meeting so that members of the national solve a could disagreement. attended the who meeting, for shared the bond of freemasonry. jefferson claimed to have been witness. the assembly subsequently assistance of veto,
allowing the king to delay of new laws.on jefferson hosted a farewell dinner for his most intimate friends. in attendance were lafayette, jefferson himself. sail ptember 26, he set for home. he took with him and unwavering admiration for the french to reform, and a conviction that progress rested on the american republic. that was the essence of his transformation in france. i think i have a few minutes if anyone has a question. i've gone through a lot of information. would be happy to answer questions.
yes. > >> thank you for your lecture. i'm a member of the thomas jefferson head to society. know, thomas jefferson was born in 1743. 45 years old.as comment on ike to any relationship that thomas with rson may have had sally hammons? >> who? take on this erent -- a lot of -- en about 25 years ago, this became a focal point in discussions on
thomas jefferson. i don't have -- tthis is not to my relevant conversation. a new k it is time for conversation about thomas around the form back from france, th second american revolution. whether jefferson had a with sally p hemmings, it seems possible, but far as i can see, there is no concrete evidence. how did those lines, about slavery ew to his relationship
lafayette -- but, his views on involved in to be this period? >> he was an awkward situation when he went to france. i think he was going to france life again -- his wife had died, his life collapsed. he had been invited to go to france three times, he finally departed in june 1774. join the se was to the enlightened society. there, he t discovered that the people he be close to where anti-slavery activist. he did not say much about that. in his notes on virginia, he passage -- i think himself in hat by
france. he had the book published his re he discovered that opponents to arch slavery. i think he basically kept it to himself. not think -- he tried in many instances to solve the problem of slavery. in the end, he said, we have l the good we can. and then he passed on to the next issue. so, i do not have a definitive years on on his final slavery. >> my questions of the louisiana territory purchase.
did one of those times -- >> the only real connection between the louisiana purchase jefferson in france is that who signed the agreement for the french was the same man who sent jefferson the questions to answer in 1780. i guess it would be right to this he jefferson saw large opportunity. >> thank you very much. i am interested in the notes on on the virginia. did someone in france sent him
an outline, or a series of questions, did he circulate all those? he circulate just some of those two people in virginia and the colonies? >> i have the pleasure of an original copy upstairs before the talk. i think it is a very interesting subject. he started working on these in of 1780 -- shortly the 23 e had received questions. can't response -- i remember -- i think it was in 1781, or 1780, but, he continued collecting information about these 23 questions for the next 2 1/2 years. when he came to france, i was under the impression that he had a book ready to print. that way -- sound
he communicate how you try to on his arles thompson boat to atch his france, aand he decided not to print it in philadelphia, but in france. but, the fact the matter is, if t it -- he says the he had a bundle of looseleaf paper out of order. i think what happened was -- he and organized le the 23 rding to questions, and he did that in t took him 6 to 9 organize all that. can explained earlier, you the nline and they have document -- i think they have
one of the original proofs to this book. all of his changes -- has flopped over time sweetie at a new stuff. this was him revising his notes. those were transcribed. winter of 1785. that transcript was given to the printer sometime at the end of the winter or beginning of spring. that was produced into 200 original copies. those have been distributed out. i'm a paper on that. maybe a historian at the society here traced where all those copies went. much f them are pretty defined -- 30 of them are missing altogether. after he printed those books,
copy to -- who printed a french translation, which jefferson did not like. 1787 nally had printed in in england by john stockdale. will see now. -- do think you before you do not think he had a book before he arrived to france. >> how does it link back to what he learned in france? >> i do not want to pretend that i really knowledgeable about his presidency. did learn -- to me, the most important thing he brought back from france is commitment.
the picture of howard pyle and him. he was very secretive. i think he was like the wizard of oz. he was doing all the things that no one was supposed to know about. when he came back to france, he was convicted -- he had become a progressive. he was a progressive when he came back. he saw as his responsibility to protect the republic. what he had learned in france. he went through the first national election, and put up with quite a bit of criticism.
in many ded himself instances. and one for election, -- what people believed be an emerging monarchist idea. jefferson was not there for washington's first inauguration. when washington died, he did not attend his funeral. there is a comment i read -- i -- he it is correct washington was worrying, surrounded himself by so many monarchist. he was always motivated by the objective of preventing power.
state ok at the virginia emblem -- liberty standing on the dead tyrant -- that was his idea. that's why he waged, that is why he waged what i call the other -- his other revolution to dismantle virginia's aristocracy. i think that is what guided him during his election and the second american revolution. >> [indiscernible] >> yes. >> thank you for your lecture. it was very informative. my question is in jefferson's , circle of friends you have on the screen, did any of them lose their life due to the revolution and the guillotine? >> that is a great question. it is hard for me to understand jefferson in this regard. you know, during the last year he was in france, the last two years he was in france, he wrote the same memo to everybody. the memo was that things were
progressing properly. everything would turn out well once they instituted a constitution based on the bill of rights. his main idea, jefferson's pet idea, was that the privileges of the upper classes would be eliminated so they would have the same rights as everyone else. everyone else would have the same rights they have. but the two men that were in his immediate -- two of his closest friends, the closest as far as i can tell, or a duke and a count. the duke was one of the best men. he was brilliant. he was a progressive. he invested money modernizing agriculture, improving conditions. he was a member of the friends of the -- he did all these things to promote improvement in the conditions for everyone in france.
he was stoned to death in 1792. cabanee'swas brother-in-law. poor condorset was in hiding. he was a moderate but he was in favor of terminating the monarchy and creating a constitutional government free of monarchical rule. and if you are familiar with the conflict, between the party conflicts, after the fall of the monarchy, they devolved into the terror as competition between the different groups for power intensified. he had to go into hiding. because of his -- i think he wrote a constitution. i forget exactly what the issue was. he felt he could not stay -- he was in hiding for eight months. he finally felt he had to flee because it might be harmful to his protector. he fled. he was captured. he was taken to one of the
prisons. he was to be executed in a day or two. his jailers went into his cell. i have a picture of this in my book. it is really quite interesting. the jailers go into his cell and from poison.dead the word is cabernet gave him the poison he used to kill himself before he was going to have his head chopped off. a funny thing a nice bit of , irony. he was finishing his great masterpiece work. his great masterpiece work included this concept of the doctrine of progress. this is where he defines the doctrine of progress. jefferson probably never heard there was a doctrine of progress. but that is what he was writing. he is writing this. he finishes the last line of this paper and then takes the poison. kind of tragic. one more. >> lee's comment on marie antoinette and her bread and
cake comment, and her execution, please. >> i don't think she actually said that, but it is too good not to use. [laughter] but i think she almost escaped the -- i referred to the bad press, the bad reputation she had. there was something called the diamond necklace affair. are you familiar with that? some bishop all of the three -- tiers of french economy were hierarchical with a very small, thin crust of wealthy and a mass underneath of impoverished individuals. and this bishop purchased a 130,000 lira necklace he thought the queen would like. she did not ask for it. she did not really have anything to do with it. he gave it to her. it was subsequently stolen and cut up and sold separately.
but the poor queen had the reputation of ordering this and having this kind of extravagance surrounding her. so she was a nonentity. , she was a target for the impoverished underclasses. and i don't -- you know it is , somewhat beyond the scope of my conversation, but she was -- i think she might have been able to survive if one or two small had --tance is happenstances had not occurred. she might not have been beheaded. you can see in the pictures she aged substantially. one final point. that was that you have all heard of madame tussaud, the waxworks queen. well, her -- jefferson visited the waxworks in the palais royal when he was there. he went there and he saw this,
these exhibits. and there was an assistant to the proprietor of this museum, and her name was madame -- i forget, it was a german. it was his niece. she learned his techniques for re-creating wax effigies. and during the revolution, she was commandeered. and she had to go to the graveyard. she went into the baskets after the day's beheadings and louis rieved the head of antoinette, and several others. she made their wax faces. you can see them. you can look it up online. isn't that amazing? life is full of strange things. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
>> join american history tv tonight on the civil war. that impacted lincoln's reelection campaign in 1854. they explored the expansion of war powers, his relationship with democratic and republican newspapers, and the impact of the soldiers' vote. that is tonight at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. eastern time on american history tv. >> this year, c-span is touring cities across the country, exploring american history. next, a look at our recent visit to lafayette and west lafayette, indiana. you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend. >> the development of canals and railroads was important to the early growth of lafayette. we visited the big four depot to learn more about transportation's role.